Who in the world would wait until Christmas Eve to do their Christmas shopping? I find it hard to believe the statistics that show December 24th is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, so one season I decided to venture out to the stores and see for myself. I usually have my Christmas list complete by Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds, so even though I was elbow to elbow with anxious shoppers, I didn’t feel the same angst that seemed etched on their faces.
I traveled to my favorite department stores and picked through a few stocking stuffers. Low and behold, I saw three of my in-laws scrambling for gifts. I picked up a few items and went to stand in the check-out line about sixteen people deep. Maybe this was the “season to be jolly” but the people in line at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve were anything but cheerful.
Amazingly, they were talking to each other. Strangers who normally would never speak to each other in a checkout line were chatting away about Christmas plans, families, special purchases, and where to find great last-minute bargains. I enjoyed listening to the friendly banter. It seemed the shoppers were bonding by a common cause—get the shopping finished today!
The young lady in front of me was laden with five large rolls of very expensive wrapping paper. She turned to me and said, “I can’t believe I’m spending more than $25 on wrapping paper. It seems like such a waste for something that’s going to be torn off and thrown in the trash tomorrow. But at least I won’t have to get back in that traffic and go to another store.”
I didn’t bother telling her about the paper I saw on sale for one-fifth the price she was about to pay. By the look on her face, the $20 saving wouldn’t be worth the trip. Instead, I said, “Oh, it is expensive, isn’t it? But it will look lovely under your tree.”
“Thanks,” she said. “I think it’s pretty, too.”
Musing over the idea of wrapping paper took me back to the origin of the gift giving tradition. We give gifts at Christmas because the wise men gave gifts to baby Jesus. But were they wrapped? I don’t think so. I didn’t even remember wrapping being mentioned in the Christmas story at all…except in two places.
When baby Jesus was born: While they were there [Mary and Joseph], the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available to them” (Luke 2:6-7 NIV).
And then the angel said to the shepherds: “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12 NIV).
The New Living Translation says it this way: And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Swaddling a newborn was a common practice in those days. It made the child feel protected and secure. However, for the shepherds, it would have presented a foreshadowing of what was to come. When a lamb without blemish was born and selected as a temple sacrifice for Passover, its legs were wrapped or swaddled to keep it blemish free. The shepherd would have found the Christ child wrapped, just like the chosen lamb.
Ah, the first Christmas gift was wrapped indeed.
As I watched the young lady dash to her car with her shiny gold paper I thought, “Maybe that expensive paper is not such a waste after all.”
As you look at the beautifully wrapped gifts under your tree this year, remember that the most important gift of all—the one that was wrapped just for you—is the Christ Child Himself.
Dear Jesus, my heart is full today just thinking about that first Christmas Day. Thank You for taking on the form of man, for humbling Yourself and leaving Your throne just for me. Thank You for becoming the last sacrificial lamb, once and for all. I am wrapped in gratitude pondering Your amazing gift. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Beautiful…….sometimes we just need to be reassured about a choice we make….the lady with the wrapping paper needed a smile and understanding not news about where the cheaper paper was!!! The baby “wrapped”….for us!!! The greatest gift of all!
Jesus came at just the right time. I am humbled and awed by God’s love for all to send His one and only begotten Son. There is room in my heart 💜 for Jesus !
Thank you so very much for this lovely story. There are so many wonderful words and descriptions that we tend to just read and not think about. Love the “wrapping” brings the story right into the season and to a deeper knowledge. I don’t know why it surprises me, but God’s Word is so relevant to everything in Life and it truly is a Living Word. May we all celebrate this Christmas with a deeper love for His Word and our fellow man.
It means everything to me.
The wonder of Christmas!! Thank you Jesus for wrapping us with your love and grace !
Swaddling is forever in your peace🙏🏻❤️
What Jesus means to me is I am so blessed to be able to come to God because of his son’s birth and thank him for every single blessing in my life, through his son Jesus.
It brought tears to my eyes to read the analogy of the swadeling of Jesus to the wrapping of the sacrificial lamb to the wrapping of our gifts. Jesus is the true gift, indeed, the light of the world.
I enjoyed reading your story. I have been finding messages all day about the love ❤️ Jesus has for us and he is the meaning for Christmas. I always love 💗 your messages and all your special books to encourage all of us!👼😇✝️!!!
It means everything to me, with out the birth of Jesus, I wouldn’t be celebrating 13 years (Christmas Day) free from drinking and drugs.
Thank you Father for giving me your Son. I love you so much.
As a child, with Christmas and my birthday 2 weeks apart, I would be disappointed that I didn’t get many gifts. As an adult, I don’t celebrate my birthday. Jesus is the only gift that matters to me and it is given every day.
Wrapped in Christ. The unconditional love of Christ is my strength in every area of life.
It means everything to me! My prayer is that we would be “wrapped” in Jesus, not only as we celebrate the season but all year long and……..that we would show that “wrapping”, His love, to everyone we meet!